OSU Extension Blogs

Linn-Benton Livestock & Forages Breakfast Educational Program

Small Farms Events - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 6:35am
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM


For more information contact:

Shelby Filley (541)672-4461   shelby.filley@oregonstate.edu


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs


Small Farms Events - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 6:35am
Monday, December 8, 2014 9:00 AM - Tuesday, December 9, 2014 6:00 PM

10/21 Update: ONLY 5 SPOTS LEFT
This trip is being organized by OSU Extension Small Farms and Thrive. The $25 fee is being used to offset the costs of the presentations, farm tours and van transportation arranged by OSU Extension and Thrive.  Participants are responsible for costs of their own food and lodging. Exception, lunch Tuesday at Persephone Farm is included in the $25 fee.  READ MORE...
Ever wonder if selling wholesale might be a profitable alternative or addition to your farmers market sales? Are you selling some wholesale currently but don't know you're really making money from it? Are you interested in being a solution to the food security issue in our valley? Are you interested in getting contract to grow your crops?

Monday, Dec. 8
9 am  Meet to carpool at the OSU Extension Office, 569 Hanley Rd Central Point. Travel by van to Corvallis
12 pm  lunch (bring a packed lunch)
2-4 pm  Tour Denison Farm, Corvallis
5-7 pm  Wholesale Profitability talk with Tanya Murray, OSU

Tuesday, Dec. 9
10-noon  Tour Persephone Farm
12:30-1:30 pm Lunch at Persephone Farm (provided) and discussion "Bringing It Back Home"

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

2014 State of the Sheep Symposium

Small Farms Events - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 6:35am
Saturday, December 6, 2014 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

 Register at:



For more information contact: OSGA (503)364-5462 or Gene Pirelli Professor and Extension Animal Scientist OSU Extension/Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences Regional Livestock/Forage Specialist

Voice Mail – 503-623-8395  Email – gene.pirelli@oregonstate.edu




Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Personal and Situational Bias-Cognitive Bias by another name?

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 4:35pm

Personal and situational bias are forms of cognitive bias and we all have cognitive bias.

When I did my dissertation on personal and situational biases, I was talking about cognitive bias (only I didn’t know it, then).

According to Wikipedia, the term cognitive bias was introduced in 1972 (I defended my dissertation in 1983) by two psychologists Daniel Kahneman  and Amos Tversky .

Then, I hypothesized that previous research experience (naive or sophisticated)  and the effects of exposure to expected project outcomes (positive, mixed, negative) would affect the participant and make a difference in how the participant would code data. (It did.)  The Sadler article which talked about intuitive data processing was the basis for this inquiry. Now many years later, I am encountering cognitive bias again. Sadler says that “…some biases can be traced to a particular background knowledge…”(or possibly–I think–lack of knowledge), “…prior experience, emotional makeup or world view”. (This, I think, falls under the category of, according to Tversky and Kahneman, human judgements and it will differ from rational choice theory (often given that label).

This is important for evaluators to remember…what you bring to the table does affect you; any assumptions you make because of your experience, world view, and/or perceptions affects you AND the evaluation. One way to help mitigate those assumptions is to make them explicitly clear–put them on the table.

Today, I was in a meeting about diversity. Although the term had been defined previously, there were many new players at the table for whom this term had not been clearly defined. Diversity is more than just the intersection of race and gender. Daryl Smith presents a model addressing this (she presented this model at a presentation at OSU in 2012). The discussion until that point had focused only on race; all the other forms of diversity including gender were not being addressed. Yet to talk about this topic all forms of diversity needed to be considered. Smith’s model included climate, access, success, education, scholarship, outreach, and capacity and they were all listed as “…overarching institutional goals for equity, inclusion, and diversity.” We had not clarified assumptions in this discussion. We were being influenced by personal and situational biases. If this had been an evaluation, there would have been a lot of cognitive dissonance; even not being an evaluation, there was a lot of cognitive dissonance.  We will resolve this dissonance, even if it takes a while.

What I ask of evaluators is to remember that what you have experienced and what you know does affect the evaluation–any evaluation. Evaluations are not free of bias; evaluations can never be bias free. All we can do is try to mitigate the biases.


Sadler, D. R. (1981). Intuitive data processing as a potential source of bias in naturalistic evaluations. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 3(4), 25-31.

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Small-Scale & Urban Farming Series

Small Farms Events - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 2:37pm
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

 For more information, contact the OSU Lane County Extension office at (541)344-5859, or stop by the office at 996 Jefferson Street in Eugene, to pick up an application.

Office hours are Monday-Thursday, 10am-1pm and 2-5pm.

Cost of session is $25.00.  Pre-registration is required.

For payment with a credit card see the website: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/gardens



Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

November Ice Storm hits Coast Range

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 11:39am
West of Philomath. Image: Liz Cole

By Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Benton, Linn and Polk Counties

While most residents of the Willamette Valley and Cascades foothills experienced unseasonably cold temperature in mid November, residents and landowners in the central Coast Range endured a serious ice storm. This was not a region-wide storm, but sure packed a punch in certain areas, with some people saying the damage caused may be as bad as or worse than that caused by the infamous Columbus Day Storm. I have not heard of any additional damage from a freezing rain event on December 1.

The main area affected is centered around Blodgett and Burnt Woods, stretching north through Kings Valley into Polk County and south to the flanks of Marys Peak. The McDonald Forest was shut down for nearly a week due to falling ice, limbs and whole trees, closing roads throughout the research forest and creating hazards to workers and recreationists. Crews and equipment are working to reopen forest roads throughout the area.

Image: Liz Cole

Ice ½ to ¾ inch thick brought down branches, broke out tops and uprooted whole trees in rural residential as well as forested areas. Although damage was irregular and uneven, stands of all types and age classes were affected. An aerial survey by the Oregon Department of Forestry indicated that roughly 6,600 acres of significant damage (less the 10% of trees damaged to over 30% of trees damaged), although I have seen some stands where over half the trees were damaged.   Damage seemed worse in draws dominated by hardwoods. Here is a map of the storm damage distribution.

Of course, we have been here before, at least to some degree. Wind and snow storms come through from time to time knocking things down and making a mess. This creates hazards for people and ruins or reduces the value of damaged trees and stands, and may cause forest health issues such as rot or beetle outbreaks down the road. Downed wood can serve as a nursery for beetles if abundant and large enough which may then lead to damage to healthy trees, and broken tops and other wounds may lead to heart rots. The ODF has just released a good discussion of possible effects on forest health following the November 2014 storm, including some guidelines on actions.

Near Burnt Woods

But right now, many people will focus their efforts on cleanup. The Oregon Department of Forestry also developed a webpage a couple years back about dealing with storm damage  that is aimed mostly at residential situations, but it may be worth a look. It includes links to other articles such as “tree first aid after a storm”

Be sure to be extra vigilant whenever you are doing anything in the woods after a storm since it can create an abundance of hazards including loose tops or branches hung up overhead, kick back-inducing tangles of branches, or spring-loaded limbs and trunks on the ground. If cleaning up, please review saw safety, wear all recommended safety gear and use all caution. Caution should include prudent assessment of the situation and of your own skills and ability. And as we say in the advice business, “be sure to seek professional help” when needed. Although I doubt Ann Landers was ever referring to loggers, it is nonetheless sound advice.

Image: Liz Cole

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Nano-cellulose Based InnofreshTM Coatings for Preserving Pre- and Post-harvest Fruit Quality

Small Farms Events - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 2:38pm
Monday, December 1, 2014 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Fall 2014 Faculty Seminar Schedule, Dept. of Food Science & Technology

Presenter: Yanyun Zhao, Professor

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

New class of mid-Valley Master Woodland Managers graduating

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Sun, 11/30/2014 - 11:00pm

By Brad Withrow-Robinson, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension, Benton, Linn & Polk Counties

Please help welcome a new class of Master Woodland Managers. The Master Woodland Manager Class of 2014, which  has 17 members from communities throughout Benton, Linn and Polk Counties, graduated in November, joining several dozen volunteers from earlier trainings, ready to put their forestland management expertise to work as volunteers in their communities along with the OSU Extension Service.


Mid Valley MWM Class of 2014

Master Woodland Managers are qualified local family woodland owners who receive specialized training from OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension to improve their abilities as land managers and as community leaders. The purpose of the Master Woodland Manager program is to provide a core of trained volunteers that help OSU Forestry and Natural Resources Extension serve local communities and be a resource to help inform other woodland owners on ways to take care of their land.

The Master Woodland Manager training is about 80 hours of classroom and field instruction spread over most of a year. A broad variety of topics are covered, including forest management planning, woodland ecology, resource inventory methods, thinning stands, road maintenance, insect and disease management, fire risk prevention, sustainable forestry practices and more. In return, the trainees agree to give the OSU Extension a similar amount of time in volunteer service in helping other small woodland owners.

Master Woodland Manager volunteer activities may include hosting tours and workshops on woodland management practices (including planting, harvesting or habitat development), taking leadership positions in local landowner and conservation organizations, contributing to newsletters, and developing educational materials and youth programming.

Among the most popular and important services of Master Woodland Manager volunteers are site visits to local properties. A visit with a Master Woodland Manager can help you see your property in a new way. Their experience can help you recognize what you have on your property, identify opportunities you have overlooked, or limits you may not have seen, develop goals and strategies to address needs and point you to additional local sources of assistance.

Want another perspective on your property? Schedule a visit with a Benton, Linn, or Polk County Master Woodland Manager by calling the Benton County OSU Extension office at (541) 766-6750, or email me with at brad.w-r@oregonstate.edu.

The mid Valley Master Woodland Managers of 2014:

Marc Baldwin – Corvallis

William Bowling – Albany

Wylda Cafferata – Dexter

Mary  Chamness – West Salem

Bonnie Marshall -Sublimity

Ed Merzenich – Brownsville

Jim Merzenich- Salem

Bruce  Morris- Alsea

Elizabeth Mottner – Monroe

Tyler Mottner – Monroe

Doug Newell – Corvallis

Sherri  Newell – Corvallis

Janice Thompson – Corvallis

Christy Tye – Lebanon

Jennifer Weikel – Monmouth

Timbre White – Scio

Roger  Workman – Albany

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

That time of year…

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 3:33pm


A uniquely American holiday (although it is celebrated in other countries as well-Canada, Liberia, The Netherlands, Norfolk Islands),

filled with too much food (pie any one?) ,

too much football (what is your favorite rivalry?),

and too much shopping (black Friday?).


For me it is an opportunity to to be grateful–and I am, more than words can express. I am especially grateful for my daughters, bright, articulate, and caring children (who are also adults).

What makes this holiday unique? That is an evaluative question.

What will make this holiday a good holiday for you?  That, too, is an evaluative question.

This holiday will be good for me in many ways.

For me, it is an opportunity to think deeply about the various roles I fill: mother, sister, friend, evaluator, volunteer, among others.

It is an opportunity to think about what kind of guest I will be when I visit for the holiday.

It is an opportunity to think about the privilege that comes to me as an accident of my birth and those not so privileged.

It is an opportunity to count my blessings, of which there are many.

Happy Thanksgiving.



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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Tolerance for ambiguity.

Evaluation is an Everyday Activity - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 2:53pm

It all depends.

The classic evaluation response. In fact, it is the punch line for one of the few evaluation jokes I can remember (some-timers disease being what it is; if you want to know the joke, ask in your comment).

The response reminds me of something I heard (once again) while I was in Denver. One of the presenters at a session on competencies, certification, credentialing (an indirectly, about accreditation) talked about a criteria for evaluators that is not taught in preparatory programs–the tolerance for ambiguity.  (What do you see in this image?)

What is this tolerance? What is ambiguity?

According to Webster’s Seventh, tolerance is the noun form of the verb “to tolerate” and means “…the relative capacity to endure or adapt physiologically to an unfavorable environmental factor…” also defined as “…sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own; the act of allowing something; allowable deviation from a standard…”.

Using the same source, ambiguity (also a noun) means “…the quality or state of being ambiguous in meaning…” OK. Going on to ambiguous (the root of the word), it  is an adjective meaning “…doubtful or uncertain especially from obscurity or indistinctness…capable of being understood in two or more possible senses…”. Personally, I find the “capable of being understood in two or more possible senses…” relevant to evaluation and to evaluators.

Yet, I have to ask, What does all that mean? It all depends.

Many evaluations are perfectly clear to the program designer(s) and not to the program participants (familiarity can be blinding). The process must be explained many times, in different phrasing; in different words before everyone involved understands, if then. And even then, do all participant understand the program the same way? Probably not because of cognitive biases that every person has and brings with them when they participate in anything. Every person has personal and situational biases which affect the understanding any individual has for what is currently occurring, even the program designer(s). If the program designer(s) then has someone else (say an external evaluator) conduct the evaluation, another layer of ambiguity may be added–often is.

Some folks will see ambiguity as uncertainty (in fact Webster’s Seventh uses uncertainty as a synonym). I don’t; for me not knowing (uncertainty) is different from being unclear (ambiguity);. Certainly, an argument can be made that they are the same. (I’ll leave that for another time.) I see it as incumbent on the evaluator to be clear.  Tolerance for ambiguity is hard to teach because of the discomfort people experience when met with lack of clarity. Yet, to be a competent evaluator, tolerance for ambiguity is a competency that is needed.

my .



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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

It depends

Amy Grotta's Tree Topics - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 1:04pm

By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

Remember those Magic 8 balls where you would ask a question, shake the ball, and get an answer? I wish life were that simple.

Extension agents get a lot of questions. Some say we are notorious for always answering with “well, it depends.” As an Extension agent I’m as guilty as anyone of using “it depends”, and not because I want to dodge your question. Usually there is more than one answer; more information is needed; and ultimately, you are the one who will be able to answer your own question after more a more thorough evaluation. Here is a sampling of inquiries I’ve received by phone, email, or Ask an Expert over the past few weeks, to illustrate this.


“Do you have advice for the most effective strategies for killing blackberries? We want to use only as much herbicide as is really needed.”

a wall of blackberries

It depends!

How large an area needs to be treated? Is it a site prep situation, or are the trees already planted? Is there desirable vegetation intermixed with the blackberries, and if so, how much?

I hope I didn’t frustrate the askers by giving them a whole lot of questions in exchange for the single one asked. But each situation is different and the “best” strategy will depend on these and other factors. Knowing how herbicides work is critical to successful integrated pest management, which is really what the question is about.


“I have a few acres of pasture and I’m thinking of planting some trees and putting it in forest deferral. Is this a good idea?”

It depends!

Are the soils suitable for growing trees, and if so what kinds? Have you thought about how you will get the site ready for planting? Do you have the ability to control competing vegetation on the site for several years after planting? Are you willing to commit time and money to this effort for the next five years? Will you be able to pay back taxes should the plantation fail and forest deferral be removed?

This person got 5 questions back for the price of one. I’m not in a position to tell her whether it’s a good idea, but I can help her evaluate the answers to some of my questions.


“We have some big trees on our property. Should we cut them now to make sure they don’t overgrow the market?”

big logs coming into a mill

It depends!

Despite common assumptions, some mills buy big logs. Have you checked to see whether your trees are really too big? What are your overall income goals for your property? Are you thinking of removing just the biggest trees, or doing a clearcut? Which course of action, including no action, would leave the stand in better or worse condition over the long run?


I believe that there are no stupid questions. But don’t be surprised if the answer is “it depends”.

The post It depends appeared first on TreeTopics.

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Food Science Camp 2013 and Erik Fooladi

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Fri, 07/19/2013 - 12:44pm

We participate in the Oregon State U Food Science Camp for middle school students.

Part of the STEM [science technology engineering math] Academies@OSU Camps.

We teach about bread fermentations, yeast converting sugars to CO2 and ethanol, lactobacillus converting sugar to lactic and acetic acids, how the gluten in wheat can form films to trap the gas and  allow the dough to rise. On the way we teach about flour composition, bread ingredients and their chemical functionalities, hydration, the relationships between enzymes and substrates [amylases on starch to produce maltose for the fermentation organisms]; gluten development, the gas laws and CO2′s declining solubility in the aqueous phase during baking which expands the gas bubbles and leads to the oven spring at the beginning of baking; and the effect of pH on Maillard browning using soft pretzels that they get to shape themselves..

All this is illustrated by hands on [in] activities: they experience the hydration and the increasing cohesiveness of the dough as they mix it with their own hands, they see their own hand mixed dough taken through to well-risen bread. They get to experience dough/gluten development in a different context with the pasta extruder, and more and more.

A great way to introduce kids to the relevance of science to their day to day lives: in our case chemistry physics biochemistry and biology in cereal food processing.

We were also fortunate to have Erik Fooladi from Volda University College in Norway to observe the fun: http://www.fooducation.org/

If you have not read his blog and you like what we do here: you should!


endless pasta


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Good Cheese, Bad Cheese

Bringing Food Chemistry to Life - Wed, 07/10/2013 - 12:25pm

pH, colloidal calcium phosphate, aging, proteolysis, emulsification or its loss and their interactions lead to optimum melting qualities for cheeses. A module in this year’s food systems chemistry class.

This module was informed by this beautiful article “The beauty of milk at high magnification“ by Miloslav Kalab, which is available on the Royal Microscopical Society website.


Of course accompanied by real sourdough wholegrain bread baked in out own research bakery.

Inspired by…

“The Science of a Grilled Cheese Sandwich.”

by: Jennifer Kimmel

in: The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking

Edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden


Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

February 2011- Nutrition Education Volunteers taking “vacation”

Family Food Educators of Central Oregon - Tue, 02/01/2011 - 8:24am

I’m back from maternity leave and getting resettled into some new responsibilities.  We had a staff member leave us, so Glenda and I are having to pick up the work load until we find someone new, or our responsibilites change.  Being a new mom is lots of work too, so I’ve gone part time (24 hours aweek) but am still trying to get everything done… that being said, we’ve decided to put our nutrition education volunteering on hold, until I have a managable workload.

We look forward to being able to start things back up in the summer or fall of 2011.  Thanks so much and since a few of you have been asking, here’s a photo of our boy.  He is 5 months old today!

Bundled out in the cold!

Categories: OSU Extension Blogs